VPN stands for virtual private network. A VPN purpose is to keep all your traffic inside a private and encrypted tunnel built over the public internet.
A personal VPN helps you hide your location by tunneling all your traffic from your computer to another location which is basically the VPN provider server.
By using a VPN, you will be able to pretend to the website that you visit that you are visiting that you are connected from a different location.
You can install a VPN on your phone, on your laptop or even directly on your home router.
A personal VPN can be used for several purposes:
Access geo blocked content
Netflix is available in more than 130 countries in the world. So you may wonder why you would need a VPN to connect to Netflix.
Well, first of all, obviously Netflix is localized in every country, the language, the content, there are some differences. But it goes beyond that.
To prove this point, you can connect to Unogs. Unogs stands for Unofficial Netflix Online Global Search.
This website allows you to search for video availability on Netflix per region from a single website.
If you look for the award-winning movie Silence of the Lambs with Anthony Hopkins, you will find out that it is only available in 5 countries.
Thanks to a VPN software, you will be able to register to the richest Netflix region which is Netflix US and enjoy a wide range of videos which are not available in other countries.
That is just one of many examples where content can be restricted or even blocked depending on your location.
If you travel extensively, you will quickly realize that most of the content from your home country is usually not available overseas due to territorial rights.
Hide your internet activity from your Internet Service Provider (ISP)
If you do not want your Internet Service Provider to track your every move online, a personal VPN is the right solution for you.
Why would you do that?
Of course, you may be one of those to use a personal VPN to download illegally. We will not comment on this. I will absolutely not promote the use of a VPN for these types of activities.
But you may have another very good reason to hide your activity from your ISP:
In the United States, Internet Service Providers are authorized by law to resell your personal data. Telcos have the right to monitor your traffic, log your activity online and resell the data to third parties.
Avoid government monitoring
You may be lucky to live in a country where Internet is not closely monitored or censored but it is not the case for everyone. Countries that are reputed to restrict civil rights or freedom of speech are usually inclined to tap Internet connections.
Any suspicious activity can have severe consequences.
If you like to see how your country stands against Internet Freedom, have a look at the freedom map on freedomhouse.org.
It is important to note that some governments are also fighting against the use of VPN software as they are well aware that it is a way to bypass filtering or monitoring software. VPNs are currently illegal to use in Iraq, Belarus and North Korea, and usage is heavily restricted in a number of other countries, including China, Russia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
Which VPN to choose?
First of all, do not choose any free VPN solution.
VPN companies are not a charity. As we all do, they need to make money for a living.
So a VPN company that promises you a complete free service is simply lying to you.
These free VPNs make a living into tracking and selling your data to third parties. Avoid them at any cost.
Free VPN solutions are data honey pots and is the worst solution if you want to protect your privacy.
One excellent site lists down all the VPN solutions that leak your data and there is a lot.
The three most common leaks are DNS leaks, WebRTC, IP Leaks and Chrome extension leaks.
If you are considering a VPN, stay away from the following solutions:
- Hoxx VPN (free & paid version)
- Hola (free version)
- VPN.ht (paid version)
- SecureVPN (paid version)
- DotVPN (free version)
- Speedify (free version)
- Betternet (free version)
- Ivacy (free version)
- Touch VPN (paid version)
- Zenmate (free version)
- Ace VPN (paid version)
- AzireVPN (paid version)
- BTGuard (paid version)
- Ra4w VPN (paid version)
- VPN Gate (free version)
So which personal VPN option is left for me?
I personally recommend three solutions that I find excellent
Which one is for me? The Noob, the Geek and the Paranoid
Sounds like a cool story, hu?
- The Noob: I just want a simple solution and I don’t need much customization
- The Geek, I need awesome speed and I am going to setup this VPN on my toaster:
- The Paranoid: I am obsessed by security and need the highest level of protection:
How much does a VPN cost?
It really depends on how long you are willing to commit. It will cost you between $12.99 per month for 1 month subscription with Cyberghost to $2.99 per month for three year subscription with NordVPN.